Lately I have been thinking about two things that happen when native speakers correct me when I am speaking Spanish:
- I can’t remember their corrections.
- I feel a little more self-conscious about my errors
Correcting me does no good. Now I ask all prospective language partners not to bother correcting me. It comes as a shock to some of them, “How can you improve if anyone [no one] corrects your mistakes?” one perspective language partner wrote to me. “I wouldn’t like to practice with someone observing how I make mistakes and don’t even say a word to help me get rid of my errors.” I didn’t bother to correct his errors, because I knew he wouldn’t be able to remember what I said. I have tried correcting people (per their requests) and it doesn’t help them. They continue making the same errors.
Judith Logsdon-Dubois of TPRS-Witch.com is insightful about receiving corrections:
I myself know that when I am speaking French, particularly when I’m talking about something that is vital to me, if someone interrupts me to correct my grammar, I feel that they aren’t really listening to me, that judging my grammar is more important to them than what I have to say. Of course, I feel much differently if my error has made something I’ve said ambiguous or incomprehensible. When the other person is trying to be sure that they are understanding me correctly, I don’t see that as “correction” at all. I feel that they are trying to help me get my message out, and I am grateful. And I am very unlikely to make the same mistake again, because I do want to be understood.
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